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Lack of Discussion of Climate Change Effects on Federal Water Infrastructure

State of the InfrastructureBy Dr. Marc Kodack  

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) and the Bureau of Reclamation (BOR) released a joint report at the end of 2019 on their water-related infrastructure that went largely unnoticed. Notably, however, the report omits discussion of climate change implications for this aging infrastructure. The report includes infrastructure that the two entities collaboratively operate, as well as respective programs for “power generation, water supply, navigation, flood risk reduction, [and] recreation.” While the benefits and challenges to different types of infrastructure are summarized in the first section of the report – e.g., dams, hydropower facilities, navigation (ports, locks, and dredging), canals and pipelines, bridges and roads, levees –  climate change is inexplicably not mentioned as being a challenge to infrastructure. Thus, there is no consideration of the consequences of climate change effects on any of this infrastructure (see here for effects to interstate highway bridges). (more…)

Army Corps Chief: We Will Continue to Consider Climate Change Unless Ordered Not To

RD James 2020By Marc Kodack

On 9 January, the U.S. House Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure, Subcommittee on Water Resources and Environment, held a hearing to discuss the 2020 Water Resources Development Act. There were two witnesses: The Assistant Secretary of the Army for Civil Works, HON R.D. James, and the Chief of Engineers of the United States Army and the Commanding General of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Lieutenant General Todd Semonite. During the hearing, Assistant Secretary James noted that the Army Corps of Engineers would continue to consider the science of climate change unless explicitly ordered not to. See below for the full exchange on climate change between the Subcommittee Chairwoman, Representative Grace Napolitano, and Assistant Secretary James. (more…)